The childcare crisis: a problem made in Downing Street

The childcare problem that David Cameron is trying to solve is one of his own making.

Lucy Powell is Labour MP for Manchester Central

Since the failed government re-launch there has been press speculation about a new package of childcare support for parents.

It seems that Tory and Lib Dem infighting about what any new tax break for families might look like means the policy is on the rocks. What we do know however, is that any childcare problem that David Cameron is trying to solve is one of his own making.

I know from talking to parents in my constituency in Manchester Central how childcare is a big issue. Parents are facing a triple whammy of plummeting places, rising prices and the slashing of financial support to help mums and dads in work pay for childcare costs.

Only last week the Daycare Trust and Family and Parenting Institute released a new report showing childcare costs continue to rise. The report found that working parents face paying up to £42,000 for nursery a year with average fees rising twice the rate of pay rises.

The childcare crisis facing families means that childcare costs are a big barrier to women getting back into the labour market with around one million women thought to be missing from the workforce.

Cameron’s cuts to support for childcare through working tax credit mean that mums with full time jobs will spend four months of the year working to cover their childcare costs alone.

As I said at Prime Ministers Questions this afternoon, since he came to office the PM has cut up to £1500 from childcare support for families, including single mums with two kids on the minimum wage.

Whilst we will have to wait for the budget to get exact details of any new childcare offer for families, what we can tell from the briefings we’ve seen already is that very few families will find themselves better off than they were before the prime minister took office and those that will are high rate taxpayers.

Those on the lowest income will get no help at all through a tax break.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg have created this childcare disaster and any measures in the budget will only begin to remedy this crisis made in Downing Street.

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